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First Human Case Of West Nile Virus Found In County

Officials urge residents to protect themselves by wearing repellant and draining standing water.

Contra Costa’s first human case of West Nile Virus was found in a patient from central county, though it is a mild case and she is expected to fully recover. Still, officials urged residents to remain vigilant and take steps to protect themselves from getting contracting the virus.

West Nile virus is spread to humans from the bite of infected mosquitoes, according to Susan Farley, the Communicable Disease Controller with Contra Costa Health Services. “It is important to remember that West Nile virus is absolutely preventable,” she said. “The best thing people can do is to wear insect repellant outdoors, avoid going outside around dawn and dusk, and dump and drain standing water where mosquitoes breed.”

Farley said insect repellents with DEET are most effective and that people should also report neglected swimming pools, which often act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

West Nile virus usually results in flu-like symptoms, including fever, head and body aches, nausea and vomiting, swollen lymph nodes and skin rash. Farley said that although West Nile virus can be a severe disease, most people who become infected do not develop any of these symptoms.

Additional information about how to protect yourself and your home from West Nile virus is available at www.cchealth.org and 1-888-959-9911. For more information about mosquito abatement in Contra Costa County, contact the Contra Costa Mosquito & Vector Control District at www.contracostamosquito.com or 925-771-6196.

Do you think West Nile Virus presents a threat to public health? Share your thoughts in the comments section. 

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